CINCINNATI - Attorneys for the Metropole Tenants Association filed a federallawsuit Wednesday, claiming the owner of the building usedstrong-arm tactics to get them to move out.
The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC)purchased the Metropole apartment building last fall with theintent to convert it into a boutique hotel.
Terrance Brennan, one of the tenants' attorneys, for the tenantsheld a press conference on the steps of the federal courthouse at 2p.m. Wednesday. He said that if the city and the CincinnatiDepartment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were to allow theMetropole's owner to relocate the residents in order to build ahotel, they needed to make sure there was comparable housing forthe displaced tenants to go.
"Federal law requires that they not allow conversion of housingthat is subsidized by HUD backed mortgage which the Metropole waswhen there is still a need for low income affordable housing in thearea. The city and any number of entities in this case haveactually documented there is a need so HUD's permission to allowthese developers to go forward the way they have is a violation ofthe national housing law," said Brennan.
However, he said that Cincinnati and HUD did not live up totheir fair housing obligations.
"If we're going to allow 3CDC to buy this property displace theresidents into other poor neighborhoods and turn it into an upscalehotel HUD actually has to look at what the effects of that aregoing to be and under the fair housing law if that actionperpetuates racial segregation they are not allowed to permit thatto happen," Brennan said. But HUD did it anyway, he said.
"All of the government entities in this case have an affirmativeobligation under the fair housing act to not just refrain fromactions that discriminate but actually must take an affirmativesteps to ensure that all of their programs all of their decisionmaking further and promote racial integration in housing andresidential development. None of the entities HUD the city havecomplied with that obligation."
3CDC declined to comment.